Dutch football remains in crisis after the Oranje failed to reach their second successive major tournament, having missing out on Euro 2016 last summer.
The Dutch needed to beat Sweden by a seven-goal margin on the final day to nick the play-off place from them, so an eventual 2-0 win was too little too late.
Bayern Munich star Arjen Robben provided both goals on the night before announcing his international retirement after the game. It is the first time in 30 years that Holland have failed to reach back-to-back major finals.
Chile ended up as the major casualties from a ding-dong South American qualifying battle that went down to the final day.
Lionel Messi’s Argentina went into the final round of fixtures at serious risk of missing out, but their win away to Ecuador along with Chile’s defeat to Brazil and Peru’s draw with Colombia means La Roja will miss out for the first time since 2006.
The Peruvians edged them into the play-off place courtesy of goal difference, meaning the likes of Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal will have to wait another four years for their next crack at the World Cup after reaching the last 16 in the previous two editions.
The Americans suffered one of the most humiliating nights of their football history last night when a shock 2-1 defeat to Trinidad and Tobago saw their World Cup hopes come to an abrupt and unexpected end.
A comfortable 4-0 hammering of Panama in the penultimate round looked to have all-but secured progress for Bruce Arena’s men as they moved into third place in the CONCACAF final stage and an automatic qualification spot.
Only an unlikely series of results would have prevented them at least booking a play-off spot, but that was exactly what unfolded on a nightmare evening.
The devastating defeat to the Caribbean nation, who were cast adrift at the bottom of the table, combined with Panama and Honduras beating already-qualified Costa Rica and Mexico respectively, saw USA dramatically drop to fifth place on the final day.
Reigning African champions Cameroon were pitted in a tough qualifying group alongside Nigeria, Zambia and Algeria, but will be disappointed by their effort to reach a third consecutive World Cup.
Hugo Broos’ side claimed their first Africa Cup of Nations win in 15 years back in February, but couldn’t replicate that form in qualifying as they picked up just one win in five games to end their hopes ahead of Wednesday’s concluding clash against Zambia.
Another surprise African casualty, Ghana have been eliminated with a game to spare at the expense of Egypt.
Having reached the last three World Cups in a row, getting as far as the quarter-finals in 2010, James Kwesi Appiah’s talented team have flattered to deceive in qualifying with just one win in five games going into their meaningless final day meeting with the jubilant Egyptians on Thursday.
A squad featuring the likes of Jordan and Andre Ayew, of Swansea and Newcastle respectively, as well as fellow Premier League performers Christian Atsu, Daniel Amartey and Jeffrey Schlupp are currently set to finish in third place behind Egypt and Uganda.